The most stressful time of the day has been revealed, and it’s not long after our alarm clocks go off.
New research has found our stress levels peak first thing in the morning, at precisely 8.13am.
And for parents it’s even earlier, with them feeling frazzled eight minutes earlier than the rest of us thanks to organising the kids for school tool. And all this is before we even think about the school run, commuting and tackling that overflowing inbox.
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The study, conducted by Nissan Micra Elle, means it’s no wonder that women are feeling the strain more than men, with ladies aged 25-34 found to be the most stressed-out age group in Britain.
Stress can be a good thing – it’s vital for life – but how can you balance the unavoidable stresses of your day with staying healthy and happy?
Andrea Sangster, a director at the Stress Management Society advises finding ways to cope with stress.
“If we didn’t feel the stress response we wouldn’t feel that oomph to jump out of the way of a car. It keeps us alive,” says Andrea.
“What’s vital is managing stress in modern life. Stress management techniques are basically just telling you to treat yourself with a bit more love and attention."
And it seems that a big part of that is down to our diet and sleep levels to keep us in a calmer state of mind.
“Your body is a fantastic machine but it will only go so far if you feed it rubbish food, don’t drink enough water and consistently don’t get enough sleep - then your stress levels can reach dangerous levels,” she advises.
So if you find yourself tearing their hair out by 8.13am, then follow Andrea’s Top tips for managing your stress levels:
1. The number one most important thing is to get enough exercise. If you want to shift your stress, you have to get moving. The biological reason for this is to get rid of all those bad stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenalin that pump through your system when you face a stressful situation. They only go away if you give it enough time or burn it off. Exercise has a really positive effect because as well as burning off and getting rid of the stress hormones, it releases happy hormones, which give you a greater sense of well being
2. Your mum was right, getting organised the night before is key. Lay your clothes out, pack your bag, lunch, gym gear and anything else you need then you won’t have all that hellish running around in the precious minutes of the morning
3. Make some sort of relaxation system part of your day. That doesn’t mean sitting on a bean bag meditating to the sound of a babbling brook. You can take some time out anywhere. Even on public transport on the way to work, just close your eyes for a few minutes and in and out slowly. Learning to focus on your breath is a terrifically empowering technique and very effective at moderating stress in your life. You can find out more info and download an mp3 to help at stress.org.uk.
4. Use technology as much as you can to help you have an easy life. Use your smart phone to look up weather for example, or for organisation and reminders. And ask your friends what apps they have that make their lives easier.
How do you beat stress? Give us your tips on Twitter.